I was informed several weeks ago that my job position as a salesmen might be displaced due to the company’s reorganization. This is a fancy term for laid off. The company is strong financially, gaining strength in the medical industry, demonstrated by stronger stock values. Corporate goals were reached and surpassed in some cases. The company has invested in high technology companies to prepare for the future needs of an aging baby-boomer population.

Several key thoughts came to mind during this transition. First, network with colleagues, friends, and family. I contacted people through e-mail who I have had business relations with over the years. I used Linked In, a social professional networking website, to connect with leading industry leaders. Moreover, to introduce myself and learn who is growing and who is downsizing. There is always a demand in the high-tech medical industry.

I made sure I was on friendly terms with my current colleagues. The skills we had for being retained or for helping them in a crisis situation was a referral. Some people were willing to share and be on a friendly basis and others understandably, wanted to be left alone. I was willing to share my possible career transition with job finding networking groups. I researched the career transition counselors, preparing for interviewing skill review.  Overall, I did what I could to expect the best and prepare for the worst in a tough economy.

The job fairs I attended were attended by individuals with extensive backgrounds in engineering, manufacturing, and sales. Most of the attendees were low in self esteem, poorly dressed in worn out outfits, and unkempt hair. I asked myself; if I were to market the best brand in the world ”me”, what would I look for? I compared myself to a fancy pen or writing instrument or throw away pen. Am I a quality person,  and someone that others would find of high value in and want to brag about and show off. For example: was I a Waterman Schaeffer pen or a Mont Blanc pen? Or am I a person that can be replaced easily, of little value, and not very interesting. A dime a dozen throw away pen.

After attending several job fairs and career building workshops, I decided to brand myself as a high quality writing instrument. I pressed my suits, shaved off my beard, got a respectable haircut. I organized my portfolio and asked all high tech sales people I met for their business card, following up with them and followed their company. This action was done at healthcare conferences, networking groups, and even music events.

In the end, I was asked for my resume’ several times, and told to contact the company human resources department if I found myself between jobs. I received the call I was expecting and was retained by my company. The new image I made for myself is now marketable to all companies and of greater value to my current employer.

When was the last time you asked yourself, What brand do you represent?

Allen Prell lives in Keizer.